Welcome back to "Who Is..." on Magic Untapped.
This time around, we take a look at Oliver Farrel, a fanatical priest and important character from Magic: The Gathering's Fallen Empires period.
Enjoy the show.
<ON CAM INTRO>
Welcome back to Who Is on Magic Untapped as we look at the backstories and evolution of various Magic: The Gathering characters.
In this episode and, indeed, the next few, we are taking a look back at some of the characters from Fallen Empires, a small set from late 1994. And we kick it off with a look at the fanatical Icatian priest, Oliver Farrel.
Once upon a time on the Dominarian island continent of Sapardia existed the Order of Lietbur, a religious organization within the once-great empire of Icatia. Populated by cleric knights, the order worshipped and followed the teachings of an avatar known as Hand of Justice. The order was also tasked with defending the empire much like how the official Icatian army does, though with a more specific focus rather than just general defense.
Throughout the order’s history, they have been more-or-less at war with the Order of the Ebon Hand, a very similar religious entity that worships an entity known as the Ebon Praetor through the order’s deceased and deified founder, Tourach the Dark One.
Over the course of time, the two orders fought to a more-or-less stalemate with neither ever fully gaining the upper hand. This irked Oliver Farrel, a priest of Icatia. So much so that he broke away from the Leitbur as he felt the order had grown increasingly complacent towards the Ebon Hand.
Charismatic to a fault, Farrel quickly formed an extremely loyal following as he held speech after speech calling for political and religious reform within Icatia. As their numbers grew, so did their prevalence.
Farrel’s rogue order soon began to flourish in Icatia’s more impoverished sections, drawing on the populace’s disdain for the empire’s elite as well as assumed negative influences from races and religions that don’t line up exactly with those of Oliver Farrel. This group called themselves Farrelites after their movement’s founder, but those outside of their circle simply referred to them as the Farrelite Cult – a term of disdain in part due to the Farrelite’s often cruel and brutal methods.
As the cult continued to grow in rank and influence on Sapardia, Oliver Farrel’s eye caught one person in particular – a beautiful maiden named Tymolin Loneglade (sister of the extremely introverted and mentally unstable Tev Loneglade). While Tymolin didn’t mind the priest’s advances, she had chosen the hand of another. This dismissal would scar Farrel emotionally for the rest of his life.
Farrel would soon begin to see manifestations of Tourach’s influence on those outside of the Farrelites. These spiteful projections soon turned the priest and his followers even more fanatical than before, as they began accusing innocents of being agents of Tourach and taking violent actions against them.
Farrel’s downward spiral continued. The priest, now seeing his one-time love interest, Tymolin, as the living incarnation of Tourach himself, distinguished one of his concubines, Sianna, as his champion. He then gave her his enchanted mantle and charged her to find and slay Tymolin. While she privately doubted Farrel’s view towards the woman, she followed his orders and sought her out.
Sianna and a party of Farrelite fanatics ambushed Tymolin and her brother, Tev. Ignoring the introverted Tev completely, the entire group focused their attention on their high priest’s target. A grenade-like Aeolipile is thrown in Tymolin’s direction, only for it to be warded off by Tev. Now defending his sister as she had him for all these years, Tev – an underappreciated but talented spellcaster – disenchants Farrel’s mantle from Sianna before casting a spell of darkness, causing the Farrelites to scatter and allowing he and his sister to flee.
Unfortunately, the two siblings get separated in the chaos with Tev returning towards his hermit hovel within the Havenwood forest and Tymolin being captured by the Order of the Ebon Hand.
Back in the Icatian town of Montford, Oliver Farrel received a letter informing him of Tymolin’s capture by the rival Order. He and a group of his fanatical followers ventured to the Ebon Hand encampment where she is being held. Once there, Farrel convinces her captor to allow him to have an audience with her. Assuming only words would be exchanged, the commander allows it.
In conversation, Farrel offered once again his hand to Tymolin. Once again, she refused. Farrel then fatally stabs her.
Meanwhile, in the Havenwood forest, something changes. Tev, sensing his sister’s demise, cracks as his only link left to humanity suddenly vanishes. His grip on reality gone, the unstable spellcaster is transformed into a serpentine/draconic-like being – a form he would possess until his dying days.
Enraged, Tev Loneglade – now transformed into the planeswalker Tevesh Szat – appears above the Ebon Hand encampment where an intense skirmish between the Farrelites and the order’s clerics has erupted. Vengeful against all persons there, the planeswalker conjures an enormous fireball, unleashing its fury upon the fray below and incinerating all save for himself.
The demise of Oliver Farrel and his champion, Sianna, wouldn’t be the end of the Farrelite Cult, however. News of their deaths only proved to increase the Farrelite’s hatred towards non-believers – the cultists now seeing Farrel and Sianna as martyrs.
And it would stay that way until the eventual fall of the continent’s empires not too long after.
That’s it for this episode of Who Is on Magic Untapped. Join us next time as we take a look at the founder of the Order of the Ebon Hand, Tourach.
Thanks for watching.